I was confronted the other day.
In spite of all the progress we have made over the years; 6 states now allow LGBT couples to legally marry, while a few others (and some businesses) have domestic partnerships, I was reminded we still have a long way to go. (Yes, the marriage setbacks reminded me, as well.)
I was driving in my neighborhood, a middle class area of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. On the back of my car I have 4 stickers/decals: one from my college; one that says "Coexist" made up of various religious symbols representing the letters; an "I DO- Support Marriage Equality" sticker and a license plate frame with rainbow paw prints along the bottom. I should also say, I have a Harry Potter-themed license plate. A lot of adults, but surprisingly few children, have commented on it, often while driving.
For a short while a van was driving alongside me. The driver, a middle age white man, seemed to be in a good mood. He would look over at me, smiling. I did not get the impression he was looking for a hookup. (At least I hoped he wasn't.)
We continued along the boulevard, with me in the left lane, he was in the right lane. We paralleled for a while, I would be ahead of him, and he would pass me. After a short while, we came to a light and I thought I saw him mouth something. I rolled down the passenger window, thinking it may be a comment on my license plate, or he wanted directions, after all he seemed to have a grin on his face this whole time. He rolled down his.
"Did you hear me?" he asked. Big grin.
"You're gonna die. M***** F***** C***S****** Piece of S***." At the first word, I rolled up the window and drove off when the light turned green.
At first I laughed it off, figuring him to be an idiot. But later this woke me up. I took a big step earlier this year. I taught my students some LGBT History. I came out to them. Not one of my parents complained nor commented to me or to my principal. My principal, a straight, Latino male, was behind me all the way. Some of my friends at school threw me a wedding shower when my husband and I got married. I began to feel complacent.
Yes, we have come a long way, but I was reminded we still have a ways to go.